Since 1993, Greg Mortenson has been working in Asia, building schools for children – especially girls. His remarkable story is told in the book “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time,” which is Washburn’s iRead book for 2008.
The book, written by Mortenson and journalist David Oliver Relin, won several awards including the Kiriyama Prize, Time Magazine’s “Asia Book of the Year” and Pacific Northwest Bookseller’s Association’s nonfiction award to name a few. The book was also a New York Times Best Seller.
The book tells the story of one man’s campaign to build schools in the most dangerous, remote and anti-American parts of Asia. After failing to climb K2 in honor of his sister’s death, Mortenson was taken in by people of an impoverished Pakistani village. Moved by their kindness, he promised to return one day and build them a school. Mortenson not only kept his promise to build one school, but also built fifty-five schools within a decade.
“The book was chosen as the 2008 iRead because Greg was so down-to-earth,” said Kay Farley, Washburn bookstore director. “The transformational experience is what makes the book amazing. It proves that one person really can make a difference.”
Mortenson was born in Minnesota in 1957, but grew up on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. He was also born into humanitarianism. His father founded Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, a 480 bed teaching hospital, while his mother founded the International School Moshi. He served in the Cold War, receiving the Army Commendation Medal. He graduated from the University of South Dakota, with a degree in neurophysiology. Mortenson established over 61 schools, educating over 25,000 including 14,000 girls. He now lives in Montana with his wife, Tara Bishop, and his two children.
Relin is an editor for Parade magazine and Skiing Magazine, and has won over 40 national awards for his writing talents.
Mortenson will speak at 7 p.m., Nov. 20 in the Washburn Room in Memorial Union. According to Whitney Phillipi, Washburn Student Government Association president, Greg will be the first speaker of the WSGA lecture series.
Mortensen will be signing books afterwards in the lobby. Copies will be available in the book store for $15.